4 min read
Colour – Getting It Right for Your Brand
April 1st, 2022
Up to 90 percent of snap judgements made about products can be based on colour alone. In other words, getting your branding visuals right is crucial for success, and colour is a key element of visual communication.
Different colours can create different reactions within our brains, many of which are so subtle we barely notice them. Nevertheless, they can have very real effects on which brands we choose to invest in and how we interact with them.
A good example of a brand demonstrating the power of colour in marketing is Cadbury’s. At the very mention of that brand name, it’s likely that that luxurious shade of purple will have swam into your mind’s eye. Likewise, if you happen to see that shade of purple somewhere out and about, it’s just as likely your first thought will be of Cadbury’s. Colour is that powerful.
So how do you make colour work to your advantage when choosing your own brand’s colour palette? Here are some top factors to consider:
1. Think about your wider audience.
Unfortunately, there are no overriding theories regarding colours and emotions, at least not beyond some of the more obvious semiotics like red=stop and green=go . The emotions colours can evoke can change depending on culture, upbringing, personal preference etc. so don’t get too bogged down with colours and their so-called ‘meanings’.
2. Do your research and analyse your competition.
This way you can make sure you fit into your industry and target the correct audience, whilst still being able to differentiate your own brand and create something unique within your market. Skip this stage at your own peril, or you may end up looking too similar to a competitor and falling through the cracks before you’ve even started.
3. Use a limited palette
Aim to use no more than two colours in your logo design and a maximum of four in your wider branding efforts. Most logos today use no more than 2 main colours with an occasional third colour acting as more of an accent shade. Of course, brands such as eBay and Google have made a success of breaking these loose rules in going for a message of choice and variety, which leads us on to our next point…
4. Think about your message.
Start by choosing one colour that you feel conveys your message; this will act as your primary colour. Then you can layer up a complimentary second colour and third accent colour if you feel this is needed. Despite colour meanings being fairly arbitrary, there are some hues which suit certain industries more successfully than others e.g. pastel purples and pinks are often used for women’s hygiene products and vivid greens, reds and oranges are often used to market fizzy drinks.
5. Set a style guide including background colours and monochrome variations.
This will ensure your logo can be used in different contexts such as letterheads, business cards and merchandise, and will prevent your brand colours from being misused or distorted.
6. Keep colours consistent
Keep colours consistent across all branding materials and platforms to ensure your brand remains recognisable and strong. Once you’ve settled on a colour palette this will become your voice and your identity, so don’t get carried away or your identity will become confused.
7. Avoid trends and fads wherever possible.
Popular as they may be right now, these trends often tend to fade before too long, and this can leave your brand looking prematurely tired and outdated. Use your research to ensure you choose colours which set yourself apart and create a unique identity.
8. Use tools to help you along the way.
There are lots of great tools online to help you make better choices. This quiz from Grasshopper, for example, can help you choose the best colour for your product. You can also use tools such as Adobe Colour CC and Color Hunt to find colours which complement each other and explore different themes.
If you’re thinking of a rebrand or just starting out with a new product, don’t leave your colour choices to chance. If you’re stuck on which direction to take things you can always ask the experts and give me shout!